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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Days: Then and Now

On Monday the Babies started their second year of X/daycare/child development center/preschool.

Has it really been a year??

Some things don't change. I still insisted on the obligatory picture with mommy.

Last year Emily stalled by removing her shoes; this year, apparently, Daddy wasn't moving quickly enough.

Last year Drew hung back; this year we couldn't slow them down.

(finally) linking up once again with the fabulous Cheryl from Twinfatuation for Way Back When-esday!









Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Drew Says...

Last month I shared some of the funny things Emily says.

Today, her younger (by just one minute) brother gets his turn in the spotlight!

Drew is finding his voice--literally and figuratively. Each day his vocabulary grows as does his ability to hold his ground and express his emotions.

Drew constantly amazes us--whether it's with his sharp observation skills, his humorous inflections and mannerisms, or his dogged determination.

See if you agree...

"Clark. Clark. Clark. Clark." (Calling Aunt Windy’s dog all the way to her house only to be petrified of it when we finally arrived)

"I don’t like it!" (Accompanied by a shaking of the hand)

"I strong. I fast. I big." (Accompanied by his strong man impression)

Daddy/Marty: OUCH! He just…kicked…me…the…balls.
Drew: Balls! Balls! Balls!
Mommy: Marty!!!!

Drew: I poot-ed! (Laughing hysterically)
Mommy: Marty!!!! (I didn't teach him that!)

"I fall!" (As he throws himself off the side of the bed).

"Mo’" (As in more)

"Pa-Pot" (And pitching a fit when we turn on our street instead of PaPa’s)

"OOOhhh! OOOOhhh!" (When he is super-excited)

“Count your good and perfect gifts. They all come from God!” (At which point he points to the sky and exclaims, “God”)

"I love youuuuuu soooo much!" (Is there anything sweeter to a mommy's ears? Nope. Didn't think so either)

"Oscar! Cookie Monster! Elmo! Big Bird!" (Naming whichever Sesame Street characters on his diaper)

Mommy: What’s at the beach?
Drew: Water, boats, golf cart!

Mommy: Drew, what does the shark say?
Drew: Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun! (Thanks, Aunt Kelly, for teaching him that sharks sound like the Jaws theme song)

"I see a boat!" (Every time he sees a boat—anywhere—anytime. The kid could be half-asleep but he’s not going to miss the boat—no pun intended)

Drew: I want to ride the boat.
Emily: Drew, the boat’s not here. It’s at the beach. (said in a very matter-of-fact way—like, duh)

"I want a ma- ssage." (As he flips on his stomach wanting his massage)

"I go fishing. I catch fish." (Held his fishing pole all the way home)

"MY Daddy!" (Why, yes. Yes, he is definitely your daddy! No doubt about that!)

I want to sleep in mommy’s bed (Glad we’re clear about who owns the bed!)

"See you later, Mommy." (Um, it’s way too soon for you to go out by yourself, Drew!)

"I see a choo-choo train!" (And when he doesn’t, he will build one with any available materials—including jelly packets)

Mommy: Share the bottle of water with your sister.
Drew: No, I drink it all gone!
Mommy: (Laughs while thinking it’s about time Drew stood his ground with Emily)

Sometimes she’s "Emi"; other times, "my sissy."

"I don’t want to!" (Surely he picked up this expression, along with the accompanying pouty lip, from his sissy)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Go ahead. Unbaby Me. I dare you.

Just when I think we might be reaching the end of the apps-mosphere, I hear of another app that makes me wonder what kind of brave new world we are approaching. Case in point?

UnBaby.Me.

"A browser plugin that deletes babies from your newsfeed permanently––by replacing them with awesome stuff."

According to the developers, this app will scan posts in your Facebook newsfeed and block annoying baby pictures/posts based on pre-set tag words like
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In the place of odious chubby baby cheeks and toes, you can choose an "awesome" image from an Instagram feed, like cats or bacon, to take its place.
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I confess: I’ve wanted to write about this topic since a friend of mine (we're still friends, right??) shared it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy posting pictures of my kids on Facebook.

I confess: I hope my readers don’t think I’ve taken the us- versus- them bait or that I want to feed the parent/non-parent wars. Seriously, I am too busy refereeing fights between two year old twins over who is going to drive the hula hoop “boat” (and posting their pictures of said fights on Facebook).

I confess: I feel like I need to qualify this entire post with the following statement: I totally support your choice to download an app to block cute baby pics. I would hate to lose a Facebook friend over such a trivial issue like my kids.

I confess: not only do I support your choice, I won’t even be offended. I might be old and boring, but I still have a sense of humor.

I confess: I can also understand that you may not have the same undying devotion to my children as I do. After all, you didn’t gain 60 pounds, carry them for 38 weeks, 2 days, and have the stretch marks to prove it. Want to see pictures? (Just kidding… Even I have limits to what I will share online).

I confess: while I totally support your choice, I don’t know why a pic of this
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would be preferable to this.

Or this
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To this.

I confess: if you think my kiddos are annoying on Facebook, you’re probably going to be the same person who thinks kids are annoying in a restaurant, on a plane,or in Target when they want to go back to the toy aisle to see Elmo ONE. MORE. TIME.

I confess: if you are that person, your annoyance really doesn’t affect my choices or the fact that money spends the same as yours. I like to eat out. I will eventually need to fly with kids since my broomstick doesn’t work, and I love Target way too much to avoid it for the next 16 years.

I confess: if you choose to block Emily and Drew, please know they really won’t care or know. They don’t use Facebook, and chances are, by the time I let them anywhere near a computer, either Facebook will have imploded or will have evolved to a higher life form.

I confess: I am not swayed from posting pictures of my kids by those who warn my kids might one day be embarrassed by what I post. Toughen up, I say. I am sure I will do much more embarrassing things to them as they become older and wiser than me.

I confess: if I had been on Facebook during the throes of infertility, I might have been tempted to download it. To those UnBaby.Me users, I understand. You totally get a pass.

I confess: I understand the issue for many is the sheer number of baby-related posts, which begs the question: how much is too much? Really, I tend to binge or purge. Will you give me a heads-up if I am approaching the maximum number of baby uploads for the day?

I confess: I am sorry if pictures of my babies make you super-cool people realize that aging is inevitable, that some people actually like being uncool, and that procreation is necessary for the continuation of our species and likewise the perpetuation of the sub-species known as the ultra-hip.

I confess: I seriously don’t know what could be more awesome, cool, and hip than this:

I confess: likewise, you should understand if I choose to block pictures of your pets, your alcoholic beverages, your latest gourmet meal at the trendy place that doesn’t even have high chairs, your political opinions that are contrary to mine, your curse-word filled pictures with accompanying half-naked tattooed individuals, your artsy self-portrait taken in the mirror before you head to the club, your latest trip to a remote village... But I won’t because…

(1) I confess: I really don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other about this app (or Facebook, for that matter). It’s just social media after all. There are so many more pressing world issues to address like when is Snooki’s baby due—oh, wait. I just used the “baby” word again. (By the way, I would understand if you defriended me based solely on the basis that I just referenced Jersey Shore).

(2) I confess: I think people who use UnBaby. Me are missing the point of Facebook. After all, Facebook is supposed to be the one place is the world where we think people actually care about the minutia of our daily lives.

(3) I confess: at the risk of sounding deeply political or making a sweeping generalization, I will say that blocking what we don’t like kind of flies in the face of tolerance.

(4) I confess: I totally support your right to be whatever you want to be on Facebook—even it looks nothing like the you IRL.

And finally….

I confess: I must end this post so I can go update my Facebook status and share what Drew just said to Emily. So, if you don’t like my babies then you might want to unfriend me or at a minimum, unsubscribe from my News Feed. Both options are way simpler than downloading an app.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blossoming Babies

Today was the Babies' last day in their first daycare class.

Our daycare runs on a school year calendar: children are sorted by their age as of August, and they remain with that group all year.

One short year ago this week, my babies entered the One Year class, and now they are coming out Babies, who, in just a few short days, will enter the Two Year class.

After having someone come to our house that first year, it was a leap of faith for us to put them in a local church daycare full-time.

We had our doubts and fears.

How would we get everyone out of the house on time?

Would the babies be happy in a new environment?

Would they make friends?

Would we like their teachers?

Would they stay sick?

What would they eat?

Would they feel loved and safe?


Thankfully, time and again we have been reassured that we made a good choice for our family.

While we battled the typical colds and stomach bugs that come along with having a bunch of young kids together in a confined space, we also watched Emily and Andrew thrive and blossom.

As a former teacher, I know that working with children is one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs one can perform. As a mom, I find myself appreciating these special individuals even more.

With the year coming to a close, I searched for a tangible way to express my often-unexpressed gratitude for these ladies who cared for my babies-- reading countless stories, kissing boo-boos, encouraging "please" and "thank you," leading them as they blessed their meals and talked to Jesus, rocking them to sleep, teaching them songs...

With a little inspiration from Pinterest, we came up with a small way to show the teachers, the directors, and the cook, our thanks.

I started with one of my favorite pictures from their two year session. (Seriously, Shannon, I love this picture!)


Using Photobucket, I added a special message for their teachers and then used Walgreen's online photo service to send the image directly to my local store for printing.


I found these potted plants (with complimentary floral picks) on sale at the grocery store.

We added gift cards to an envelope that I attached to the back of the homemade cards.

I was pretty happy with the finished product.

One more addition: personal delivery from two sweeties!

We'll miss our One Year teachers but are excited about meeting our new teachers on Monday!







Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer in our City: The Amazing Rays

In my last post, I shared what happens when a thirty-something mom of two-year old twins stays up past her bedtime, revisits an old hang-out from her younger years, and tries to party like it's 1999.

This post is all about the day after--

After doing our best impression of picking up After picking up the Babies early Saturday from my parents' house, we decide to stay a bit longer for back-up to visit.

The Babies played happily at Granny and Papa's while Marty watched TV and talked with my parents. I napped like one can only nap when in the safe confines of her parents' house. As if the day after didn't make me lazy enough, rain fell steadily through the day. We didn't need much more coaxing to stay put.

In the late afternoon, we all decided against cooking and decided instead to order pizza from a place my brother recommended: Ray's Pizza.

Seriously, if you are in this area and haven't ordered Ray's--you should!

With the rain breaking and with our tummies full, we headed outside to engage in this summer's new pastime: a game of cornhole on custom-made boards by another famous Ray--my dad!

While a fierce competition ensued, the players did their best to avoid the eager hands of Emily and Drew. Maybe it's time for Papa Ray to make some kiddie-sized boards!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer in Our City: Old and New

This summer MaMe has been all over the place...


So when rained washed away our beach plans for this past weekend, we found ourselves in a rather rare place for June, July, and August--HOME!

Even with a rare summer weekend home, we didn't stay around the house much. After all, it's hard to avoid the laundry and yard work that way!

Instead, we entertained ourselves by visiting a couple of old favorite places and a couple of new favorite places--right here in our CITY.

On Friday night, the Babies went to one of their all-time favorite places--GRANNY AND PAPA'S HOUSE while Marty and I headed to the Rascal Flatts' concert at Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion.

Through the years, the amphitheater has gone through some name changes: Hardee's Walnut Creek Amphitheatre and Alltel Pavilion. To me, it will always be Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. Could it really be that I went to my first concert there (Dave Matthews Band, I believe) when I was in high school in 1994?? (Don't answer).

Besides the name change, there were plenty of other reminders of the passage of time, of the fact that the amphitheater and me aren't as young as we used to be.

Eighteen years ago, rain would have just made things more fun as we tailgated for hours and then walked a mile in the mud to the front gate. This year, we all pitched in for premium parking so we didn't have to walk as far once the show ended. I mean, after all, it would be past 10 and we'd be exhausted. And forget sitting on wet grass while drunken youth stumbled on us; just the threat of rain sent us all to upgrade our tickets to the covered seating section.

Sixteen years later, my sister and I also legally enjoyed (an extra- large) beer without fear of receiving underage drinking ticket from the undercover police who patrol the Walnut Creek parking lots disguised as t-shirt salesman (Don't ask me how I know).

So while the experience for four old folks at an old favorite, summertime place was a bit new, we still had a great time--just like the old days.

Of course, Friday night festivities required Saturday rest. Stay tuned for more stories from our "Summer in Our City" weekend.

What fun have you found in your city this summer?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Just Like My Mommy...

One of our favorite books, of late, to read at bedtime is Just Like My Mom by David Melling.

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The last lines are my favorite:

At the end of the day, we all want to be somewhere quiet, safe and warm, with someone...just like my mom.

Perhaps one of the reasons I like this book is that all parents want to see themselves in their children and want their children to aspire to be like them.

I love when I catch glimpses of Emily and Drew doing and saying things--just like their mommy.

Or reminding me of myself in their looks or mannerisms.

Like today.

When I picked Emily up from school, the teacher had kindly re-combed her hair (as she often has to do because Emily has a habit of undoing my styling job before I can even get her to school).

In the place of my loosely tied single ponytail were two big girl pigtails.

She finally has pigtails--just like her mommy once did.

This wave of nostalgia sent me to a box of old photographs where I found this Polaroid of my daddy and me--dated Christmas 1978.

Once I laughed (again) at my daddy's hair, I smiled at the similarities in our pigtails, not oblivious to the fact that it took me a whole year longer to have enough hair to have side pigtails.

And, because Emily loves her daddy (just like her mommy loves her daddy), we also bought the companion book Just Like My Dad.



What do your kiddos do that is "just like mommy (or daddy)"?




Monday, August 6, 2012

On a roll: Mama Loves

It started several months ago with this pin:


From that point on, I began hoarding toilet paper rolls. Yes, if it meant saving a roll, I had no problem digging through the trash can if I discovered Marty had inadvertently thrown away my latest craft supply.



And, then, as with many of my best-intentioned Pins, my plans were flushed down the drain from the swish of daily life with twin two-year olds.

Until...

the Babies came home from school with their 'noculars.

Genius.

For days, the 'noculars were the IT toy around our house.

And, just like that, I was on Pinterest inspired again.

Oh, the ideas...

We could paint.



Which would go great with this idea:




Or for my Emily Bee...




Creative, but not sure how the recipient would feel about candy in a toilet paper roll...




I could even make something for me:




Oh, this is pretty:




And useful:




And needed:




And isn't it just like Pinterest to lead you to a Pin that one- ups your original Pin?:




This week, this mama is loving...EMPTY TOILET PAPER ROLLS!

What are you loving this week? Looking for some great ideas to make the job of
mama-ing a little easier?? Check out Pontifications of a Twin Mama's Mama Loves. (PS She has a great giveaway going on, too!)
Manic Mother

Friday, August 3, 2012

Don't Judge a Blogger by her Confessions...

I confess…as a child, I loved to read.

I confess…I inherited my love of reading from my mom who got it from her dad.

I confess…one of my most vivid memories of my grandfather was of him showing me the etymology of the word melancholy during one of his regular dictionary readings. Thirty years later, I still remember the word parts. If only he had chosen a happier word…

I confess…as a child, I loved to get lost in the world of books: Little House on the Prairie, The Boxcar Children, the Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Whipping Boy, anything by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, the Sweet Valley High series…
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I confess…I even read a few of my mom’s romance novels, probably before I even ever had my first kiss.

I confess…my love of reading wasn’t the primary reason I became an English teacher but it sure didn’t hurt.

I confess…I primarily went into teaching because I received a full scholarship to college as long as I agreed to teach, and if I was going to teach, well, English seemed like a natural enough fit.

I confess…things worked out like they were supposed to because I was meant to teach—to teach literature and writing and words and children and now adults…

I confess…my favorite book ever is The Great Gatsby. Do I see a bit of myself in the hopeless dreamer, Jay?
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I confess…my favorite book to teach is All Quiet on the Western Front, which is odd, because I generally don’t like war-related anything. Could it be that I love the idea that we are all more the same than different?

I confess…
for a (now-former) English teacher, I don’t read nearly as much as I think I should or wish I did.

I confess…my Nook went so long unused that the battery is ruined.

I confess…while my Nook gathered dust, I did read books in hard copy. As much as I like technology, there’s something about holding and smelling a book, about dog-earring a coffee-stained page.
via Pinterest

I confess…I tend to follow the crowd when it comes to reading books. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, the Twilight books, The Hunger Games trilogy, the Dan Brown books, the True Blood series, James Patterson. So, yes…

I confess…that means I have also read the-book-that-can’t-be-named—because, HOLY COW, I couldn’t make my inner goddess behave. I know. Some of you might say reading such smut is just 50 shades of wrong, right? Two words, “Laters, baby…”

I confess…reading that trilogy jumpstarted my…(get your mind out of the gutter) interest in reading again because immediately after I finished I jumped…(really, don’t you know me better than that?) right into my car, went to Barnes and Noble, and bought 5 other books to read that had nothing to do with ties, whips, or a hackneyed plot that seemed way to similar to the Twilight novels.

I confess…around this same time, I also started reading Anna Karenina because (1) I felt like a fraud as an English teacher because I had never read it and (2) I thought a classic read might make up for my, um, less-than-literary leanings of late.

I confess…I grew weary of the prose after just a few chapters (now I know how my students must have felt when I assign Crime and Punishment).

I confess…
I read the Wikipedia summary instead. Turns out, even these characters had some, um, pretty sordid personal lives, too.

I confess…I abandoned my attempts to redeem myself as a proper English teacher, mommy, and literary critic and jumped into another summer’s hit, Gone Girl.

I confess…I stayed up way past my 10 pm bedtime to read just One. More. Page.

I confess…this is one of the best books I’ve read in a while (although, I confess, I often find myself saying this exact same thing after I finish a book).

I confess...the next book I read will not have anything to do with affairs, crime, intrigue, psychopaths, or “deviant” behavior.

I confess…
that last confession is probably more fiction than fact!

What should be on my reading list?? Go ahead, rehabilitate me or corrupt me further...








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